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J & J Sports Productions, Inc v. Daniel De La Cerda

March 14, 2013

J & J SPORTS PRODUCTIONS, INC.,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
DANIEL DE LA CERDA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto United States Magistrate Judge

(Docket No. 21)

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS ATTORNEY OF RECORD FOR DEFENDANTS

I. INTRODUCTION

On February 8, 2013, Daniel Richardson, counsel for Defendants Daniel De La Cerda and Erica De La Cerda, individually and DBA Daniel's Mexican Grill, and Daniel's Mexican Grill, LLC ("Defendants"), filed a motion to withdraw as attorney of record. (Doc. 21.) Plaintiff J&J Sports Productions, Inc. ("Plaintiff") filed a Statement of Non-Opposition. (Doc. 22.)

The Court reviewed the motion as well as the supporting documentation and found that the matter was suitable for decision without oral argument pursuant to Rule 230(g) of the Local Rules of the United States District Court, Eastern District of California ("Local Rules"); as such, the hearing on the motion was vacated. (Doc. 28.) For the reasons set forth below, counsel's motion to withdraw is GRANTED.

II. RELEVANT PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On November 10, 2011, Plaintiff filed a complaint, alleging that Defendants violated Plaintiff's rights as the exclusive commercial domestic distributor of a televised fight program. (Doc. 1.) On January 2, 2012, Defendants filed an Answer. (Doc. 12.)

A scheduling order was issued on March 22, 2012, setting deadlines in this action, including a non-expert discovery deadline of February 15, 2013, an expert discovery deadline of August 1, 2013, a non-dispositive motion filing deadline of August 8, 2013, and a dispositive motion filing deadline of September 12, 2013. (Doc. 18.) A pre-trial conference and bench trial were set for December 5, 2013, and January 28, 2014, respectively, before District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill.*fn1

On February 8, 2013, Mr. Richardson filed the instant Motion to Withdraw as Attorney of Record for Defendants, asserting that it has become unreasonably difficult to represent his client effectively. (Doc. 21.) On March 5, 2013, the Court issued an order requesting supplemental information to support the motion. (Doc. 25.) On March 7, 2013, Mr. Richardson provided the requested information. (Docs. 26, 27.)

III. DISCUSSION

Local Rule 182(d) provides specific requirements for the withdrawal of counsel where, as here, the attorney will leave the client in propria persona, and states:

Unless otherwise provided herein, an attorney who has appeared may not withdraw leaving the client in propria persona without leave of court upon noticed motion and notice to the client and all other parties who have appeared. The attorney shall provide an affidavit stating the current or last known address or addresses of the client and the efforts made to notify the client of the motion to withdraw. Withdrawal as attorney is governed by the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California, and the attorney shall conform to the requirements of those Rules. The authority and duty of the attorney shall continue until relieved by order of the Court issued hereunder. Leave to withdraw may be granted subject to such appropriate conditions as the Court deems fit.

Mr. Richardson provides a declaration indicating that, for the "past several months," he has attempted to contact his clients "to prepare their defense[,] to respond to discovery demands and to prepare them for the Court's order for settlement conference." (Doc. 21-2, Richardson Decl., ¶ 2.) However, Defendants' phone numbers "are no longer in service," they are not responding to emails, and attempts to contact them via mail have been unsuccessful. (Doc. 21-2, Richardson Decl., ¶¶ 3-4.)

Pursuant to the Court's March 5, 2013, order requiring supplemental information, counsel has provided Defendants' last known address and a Proof of Service showing that Defendants were served a copy of the instant motion. (Docs. 25-27.) Defendants have not opposed the ...


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